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  • Writer's pictureSurvivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Nicholas Cristan

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

My name is Nicholas Cristan I am 22 years old and on March 30th, 2018 I was struck as a pedestrian by an Uber driver at 3:00 am on Huebner Rd. In San Antonio Texas.

Having been struck by a car I can say I do not know what exactly happened that night because of traces of alcohol found in my system and the contact the vehicle made with me that caused me to be diagnosed with a TBI. Getting hit was bad enough however, having been hit at 3:00 am and having all my family asleep my mother was not made aware of this until 5:00am the same morning.

How I was found was my best friend was on the phone with me and said I was crying and was upset and mad. She did say I had been having a tough time in life so she figured I was going to call and for the reason stayed up. She then told me for a while I went silent and she began to worry and ended up on the phone with the officer who showed up to the scene because she was called by the Uber driver who had ran into me. After being rushed to the hospital my friend who I was on the phone with gathered up people who I am close with and came to the hospital to support me and my family. With the first initial accident I broken my chin in half, had a tracheostomy, had to get my jaw wired shut, a peg tube and ruptured my bladder as well as my small intestine. From the initial accident a major setback besides the accident itself was the fact that I had to get half my skull removed for over swelling and bigger damages along the road. I got rushed to the University of Texas Health  Science center here I was placed in the ICU for 2 weeks and after that  at Reeve’s rehabilitation.

After being in their for a month and making such great connection with nurses, doctors and staff it was my second home. After my time there I got transferred to Neuro Restorative in San Antonio Texas that helps brain injured patients in physical, speech and occupational therapy. They also provided counseling which was needed. After being there for a month on Mothers Day on May 13th I woke up with a staph infection where I was then rushed to the hospital where they chose procedure to reopen my scalp on the side with no skull and wash it out. After that I was transferred to Genesis nursing home because I needed IV antibiotics that only a nurse could administer. After going to that nursing home I went back to Neuro Restorative and my moods, judgement and forgetfulness were all out of wack.

The ultimate set back was after returning to Neuro Restorative I had fallen off a bed that night while sleeping and I don’t remember it one bit. I don’t remember the week before after but I do remember I couldn’t control the right part of my body.  I was then rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition in where fluid accumulates and builds up in the brain that causes brain damage that I already had! After that episode I was taken back to UHSC where I am given a temporal skull because there is fear putting my initial skull would bring back the STAPH if it was the reason I got the initial infection I also got my peg tube and my breathing tube out of my neck and not last I got a Shunt placed on my skull on the opposite side and it helps so much which what I’ve been through.

After this I went back to Neuro Restorative and am a proud graduate of their program. I finally got released and back to my work on October 24th 2018. This all happened in a year. I have major setbacks but I use them as positive fuel to get me to where I’m meant to be. I am here for a reason and thought I’m facing struggles I’m just happy I have struggles I get to face with a positive mind and outlook. Brain injury or not one thing we can all relate too is feeling stuck. Everyone in life is in a cave where they are trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With the right mind and in the right time you will finally hit that light and realize that all our worries and doubts are in our mind.

Sometimes life brings you curve balls that help you or sometimes stump you. While in this tunnel sometimes our flashlight might break or we might loose track of direction but with the right people around you and with self love that light will come before you know it. Before my surgery my mom prayed to God and spoke to my dad to please be with me.

After that when I was healed they said I told my family “tell my dad to leave me alone”!

To look now and with the major stumps in my life it motivates me and challenges me to make the most out of it and thanks to this injury I will be returning back to school! Like I always say “Let go, Let God”.

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